As a pedestrian, perhaps the only feeling worse than being hit by a car is watching that car drive away from the scene before you can get the driver’s details. Quickly, your mind races to, “Can I sue a hit-and-run driver?”.
Suing hit-and-run driver
In California, collisions involving injury to a person other than the driver are covered by Vehicle Code Section 20001. Under this law, the driver must immediately stop at the scene of the accident and:
- Provide your data (name, address, license plate number) to the person hit, to the drivers or occupants of other vehicles involved and to police officers.
- Providing reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident, including transportation to a medical treatment facility.
- Present your driver’s license if requested.
- Report the collision to the nearest police office if a person involved in the accident is killed.
A hit-and-run driver can carry a penalty of up to four years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
While the Vehicle Code deals with criminal proceedings, the person injured in a collision can hire an attorney and sue the hit-and-run driver for monetary and non-monetary damages. These may include medical bills, rehabilitation costs and home care expenses, as well as compensation for mental anguish and ongoing physical pain due to disfigurement.
If the police are successful in catching a hit-and-run driver from a pedestrian accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit on any of these grounds. California law gives victims up to two years after the collision to sue a hit-and-run driver. With more security cameras around, as well as cameras on cell phones, the chances of police stopping a hit-and-run driver are higher today than ever before. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver, you may want to speak with a pedestrian injury attorney to learn about all of your options and rights.
Reporting the Incident: Your First Move.
Immediately report the incident to the authorities. This act not only initiates legal proceedings, but also helps to locate the offender.
Gathering Evidence: Building Your Case.
Gathering evidence is crucial. Photos, witness statements and surveillance footage can significantly strengthen your case.
Insurance Claims and Compensation.
Dealing with Insurance Companies.
Navigating insurance claims can be complex. It is vital to understand your policy and the coverage it offers for runaway incidents.
Maximizing Your Compensation
A skilled attorney can help negotiate the best possible settlement, ensuring that you receive fair compensation for damages and trauma.
Prevention and Awareness: Staying Safe on the Road.
Adopting Defensive Driving Techniques.
Practicing defensive driving can reduce the risk of accidents, including runaways.
Community Awareness Programs
Participating in or promoting community awareness programs can help reduce the incidence of runaway accidents.
Legislative Initiatives and Social Change
Promoting Stricter Laws
Getting involved in initiatives to promote stricter laws against hit-and-run drivers can help create a safer driving environment.
Public Awareness Campaigns.
Participating in campaigns that increase public awareness of the dangers and consequences of runaway accidents can reduce their incidence.
The penalties for a hit-and-run vary depending on your state’s laws and depending on the severity of the accident.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run, it is important to take the following steps:
- Stay at the scene of the accident and call the police.
- Provide medical assistance to anyone who is injured.
- Collect information from witnesses and take photos of the accident scene.
- Contact your insurance company and report the accident.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, you may be able to sue the driver for damages.